Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finally! Time to Read:Garth Stein's THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a compelling story told through the eyes of - and with the all-consuming love of- Enzo, the family dog.

Sarah Gruen, who wrote Water for Elephants, describes the narrator of Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain:  "This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human."  She adds that she loved the novel.
I must admit I loved it, too!

Enzo believes that special dogs come back as humans in the next life.  He also believes he might be a special dog who will be able to give advice and transmit all his knowledge of people, racing and love that  he has gained in this life after rebirth as a person in the next.

This special dog lives with his racing driver owner, the owner's wife, and their little girl, Zoe.  The family goes through deep love, extreme trauma, and the depths of despair while always comforted by their compassionate and intelligent pet. He prvides comfort when they are sad, is joyful when they are happy, and admonishes them when they need it.

Wally Lamb describes the story as "a meditation on humility and hope in the face of despair."  Hope, faith, and desire to be a rock of strength for the people he loves, Enzo displays all of these traits. 

The spirituality of Enzo's narrative shows that people-or animals and people-who are destined to go through life together have souls that stay together, no matter what life or death may bring.

Thanks to Ann A. for recommending this book.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Special St. Patrick's Day Gift

Some of us will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Key West, others in Pittsburgh, Edinboro, Erie, Philadelphia, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania;  Heathsville, Virginia; Shelton,Connecticut; Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix,Arizona: Scotty's Castle, Death Valley; and West Virginia. Wherever the celebration takes place, we hope these thoughts add to the happiness of the day.

May joy and peace surround you,

Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now,
And bless you evermore.

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been
the foresight to know where you're going
and the insight to know when you're going too far.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

(Thanks to Rachel M. and Barb L. for forwarding this St. Patrick's Day gift.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

For All of Those Walking Enthusiasts Among Us

Many of us try to stick to an exercise schedule-with more or less success.  Walking seems to be one of our favorites, though.  For a tongue-in-cheek commentary on walking, take a moment to look at the following from Tom Z.

The Importance of Walking

can add minutes to your life.

This enables you at 85 years old
to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing
home at $7000 per month.

My grandpa started walking
five miles a day when he was 60.
Now he's 97 years old
and we don't know where he is.

I like long walks,
especially when they are taken
by people who annoy me.

I have to walk early in the morning,
before my brain figures out what I'm doing.

I joined a health club last year,
spent about 400 bucks.
Haven't lost a pound.
Apparently you have to go there.

Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise,'
I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

The advantage of exercising every day
is so when you die, they'll say,
'Well, she looks good doesn't she.'

If you are going to try cross-country skiing,
start with a small country.

I know I got a lot of exercise
the last few years.
just getting over the hill.

We all get heavier as we get older,
because there's a lot more information in our heads.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Every time I start thinking too much
about how I look,
I just find a Happy Hour
and by the time I leave,
I look just fine.

(Thanks, Tom, for forwarding this to us.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Signal That You've Been Together Too Long

One of the perks of managing a blog is that important people in my life send me all kinds of information and stories or anecdotes to post.  Joan H. for forwarding this bit of humor for the day.

*The Black Bra*

I had lunch with 2 of my unmarried friends. One is engaged, one is a mistress, and I have been married for 20+ years.

We were chatting about our relationships and decided to amaze our men by greeting them at the door wearing a black bra, stiletto heels, and a mask over our eyes. We agreed to meet in a few days to exchange notes.

Here's how it all went.

My engaged friend:

The other night when my boyfriend came over he found me with a black leather bodice, tall stilettos, and a mask. He saw me and said, 'You are the woman of my dreams. I love you.' Then we made passionate love all night long.

The mistress:

Me too! The other night I met my lover at his office and I was wearing a raincoat, under it only the black bra, heels and mask over my eyes.. When I opened the raincoat he didn't say a word, but he started to tremble, and we had wild sex all night.

Then I had to share my story:

When my husband came home, I was wearing the black bra, black stockings,stilettos and a mask over my eyes.When he came in the door and saw me he said, "What's for dinner, Batman?"

(Thanks to Joan H. for forwarding this to us.)

Finally! Time to Read: Michael Palmer's THE SECOND OPINION

For those of us familiar with Palmer's previous novels, The Second Opinion (2009) will bring us to familiar territory:  the medical world of Boston, its hospitals, surgeons, and mysteries, manipulations, and secret agendas cropping up within this very specialized community.

But this novel is unique because the author draws on his family's experiences with Asperger Syndrome.  The Palmer's son, now 18, was diagnosed at the age of 4 and is, in Palmer's words, "a joy to be around and who has a boundless future." Thus, the author's deeply personal knowledge of the disorder contributes to his characterization of Thea Sperelakis, an  adult AS who is also a brilliant doctor with Doctors Without Borders. She is called home when her father, a famous diagnostic physician, lies in a coma after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

As she tries to help her father and unravel the mystery surrounding his accident, she also puzzles through the implications of another patient, Hayley Long, who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A contract killer, the complications of two brothers and a sister with their own agendas, and Thea's constant effort to read motives, manipulation, and misdirection by those around her give this novel a depth that this reader has not seen before in the Palmer medical mysteries.

Questions about Asperger Syndrome arise as the reader compares Thea's fictional  reactions and struggles to those of other adults who cope with the same disorder in our real world .  As a postscript to the novel, Palmer provides answers to many questions that we have about Asperger's and the bright, wonderful people who cope with its challenges while accomplishing  many wonderful things in life.